May 01, 2018

KieranTimberlake Studio Receives COTE Top Ten Plus Honors

Staff enjoy lunch in the naturally lit kitchen at 841 North American Street ©Michael Moran

The AIA has selected KieranTimberlake's studio at 841 North American Street as a 2018 Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Plus awardee. The COTE Top Ten honors projects that integrate environmental performance with design excellence, with a Plus designation reserved for projects with exemplary building performance metrics and occupant feedback. In their decision statement, the jury applauded our studio renovation for “emphasizing occupant comfort rather than prescribed metrics” and highlighted the way our firm “actively monitors, learns from, and improves the building's performance over time.”

KieranTimberlake is in a unique position as both the owner and operator of our own building, a former bottling plant constructed in 1948. Despite its original state of disrepair, the structure and envelope were intact and most of our renovation centered on replacing the roof and windows to make the building more efficient. Using Tally®, our Life Cycle Assessment tool, we calculated that the retrofit achieved a 75% reduction of our global warming impacts when weighed against the prospect of new construction of the same size. 
Since moving into the space in 2014, we've frequently experimented on ourselves as we test the threshold for occupancy comfort. We have minimized and sometimes foregone air conditioning during summer months and continue to administer daily occupancy comfort surveys to staff that help us tweak our building's response to temperature, air quality, and daylight.  
These efforts are central to KieranTimberlake's research and design ethos, and we've continued exploring strategies to broaden our environmental stewardship. Earlier this year, we signed on to the AIA's 2030 Commitment, a public call for all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to be carbon-neutral by the year 2030. The 2030 Commitment relates specifically to the energy footprint of our client projects, but we've also taken the opportunity to double down on our in-house efforts to minimize the firm's environmental impact, from incentivizing clean commuting habits to switching out our regular cleaning products for healthier alternatives. 

Some of the new sustainability initiatives we've undertaken in the last several months include: 

  • A composting program has reduced our trash output by 50% in the first two weeks alone. Our compost, which includes food scraps, coffee grounds (lots of coffee grounds), paper waste, and more, is picked up by a local company who uses the waste to make soil products like worm compost and potting mix.
  • We purchase 100% renewable energy.
  • We deployed desktop electricity meters to small pilot groups to begin benchmarking a typical workstation's energy use and investigate opportunities to minimize energy usage.

Read more about the COTE Top Ten Plus Award and the AIA's 2030 Commitment.